History of the Empire, Ra-Theris
In the Beginning
Within the priests’ temples, in the holiest of holies, engravings on the sand stone walls tell the story of Soreth-Kan-Ra, the creator god. He who took a handful of sand from the Night Desert, and with a single breath, sent the sand grains in his palm swirling and wheeling, invoking the powers of infinity to found the cosmos. The sand grains clashed, multiplied, eddied and expanded into billions of stars and worlds and amidst the heavenly roar of creation, in a sequestered galaxy of an expanding multiverse, the four corners of this world emerged. According to Elven records dating back to the early Stone Age, this world’s given name was Superna… Superna is the world in which the empire of Ra-Theris has formed.
Prehistory of the Realm
Long before the days of the empire, the valley was a much different place. Elven scholars maintain an unwritten history of these times, that certain masters in various intellectual fields commit to memory. The history of this bygone era is considered sacred knowledge and the scholars who retain memory of these records are bound to secrecy. By oath, this history is never to be recorded in any written form, nor is it meant to be imparted to just anyone. The history of the valley is only passed on orally, to an ordained few whose identities remain secret. It is said that some scholars can even tell the story of the beginning of Superna itself! As one may expect, some of the most powerful arcane and divine secrets in history are known exclusively to these scholars. These scholars form an order known as, The Oracles of Dawn.
It is generally known that in days far pre-dating the Ra-Theris empire, that the area wasn’t always covered by a vast desert. Tens of thousands of years ago the valley was covered in grassy plains and dense jungle. Many tales are told about the gods cursing the people and colossal evils that changed the land to the searing desert that it is today. No one, other than the Oracles of Dawn, truly know the details about the evolution of the landscape.
The valley has been a desert for thousands of years now. Several tributaries and a large lake have drawn many tibes to reside here throughout the years. The tribes seen prior to the rise of the Ra-Theris empire have no record of being united until the a certain tribe of ogres appeared that came from the southern region of Tatenda.
Unification of the Valley
Prior to the formation of the empire, the desert valley was dominated by various tribes. The tribes were made up of many races that still exist in Ra-Theris today (such as Elves, Humans and Dwarves). For hundreds of years a massive tribe of Ogres, known as the mighty Themba, dominated all other tribes in the valley. The Themba forced the other tribes into slavery, and killed off many of them for sport or for food. The only two sources of survival in the desert are the scarce desert oases and the Serpentine River. The Ogre tribes dominated the river then, so many of the other tribes fled into the desert in search of safety. Most of those tribes died in the harsh and relentless desert conditions, but a few managed to survive and continue life there, even today.
Hope was bleak and the various races of each tribe were on the verge of extinction due to the Ogres’ overwhelming power. Some races, such as the Halflings, were completely wiped out.
It was then that the legendary hero, Ozer, son of the creator god, Soreth-Kan-Ra, appeared. Ozer was born in the Themba’s slave pens, where he watched his mortal parents die at the hands of cruel slavers, yet even then Ozer knew why Soreth-Kan-Ra had delivered him here.
When he was almost a man grown, Ozer plotted an escape from the slave pens with a group of other slaves that he had rallied. The success of that escape galvanized descent in other slaves and Ozer used it to inspire revolts throughout the valley. As rebellion arose, Ozer distracted the Themba tribe by harrying them through well executed guerrilla warfare tactics. The Themba were strong, but Ozer’s tactics were too much for them. More and more, slaves broke free, and eventually Ozer was in command of a small but formidable army.
Through persistence, clever tactics and perhaps by the will of the gods, Ozer and the valley’s tribes were eventually able to gain the upper hand against the Themba tribe. A war took place between Ozer’s new established army and the Themba that lasted a decade, until at last, Ozer’s army prevailed and chased the Themba from the valley.
In the final days of the war between Ozer’s army and the Themba, the Ogres made a last attempt to move back into the valley through a mountain pass in the south near their original homeland, Tatenda. In what seemed like an act of divine intervention, the Themba’s plan to retaliate was foiled when a volcano unexpectedly erupted and decimated the Themba’s homeland. The Themba tribe has managed to survive beneath the volcano in its shattered state throughout the ages, but they never returned to their full strength again. The war was over, once and for all.
First King & Legacy
After the people were freed from the Themba, it didn’t take long before the tribes officially dubbed Ozer their official leader. The first pharaoh of Ra-Theris was crowned.
Ozer was not idle after the valley was united under his rule. With sages from the various tribes, he was quick to systematize a way of life that would begin the first civilization the valley had ever seen. Some did not believe in this new civilization, but Ozer was in power now. An established civilization was to be his shield against the savage world of Superna. Negotiations had to be made with the valley tribes to adhere to unified desires for the new realm of Ra-Theris. Some tribes refused to live life in this new civilization and left to survive amidst the oases as free people. Ozer arranged an agreement with these tribes so that they were still welcome to trade with the realm for their own survival.
For the most part, the tribes of the valley supported Ozer’s rule. Many advancements in agriculture, and trade were achieved. Mighty temples and statues were erected to give glory to the gods and to the first pharaoh. Ozer took many wives from the various races of each tribe. It is said that his divine blood was the reason that he was able to have children with each of the races. Pharaonic rule was established thereafter. Ozer’s children were to rule the valley in his stead upon his leave to the afterlife, so that civilization would be maintained.
To make sure that the culture of the tribes was preserved, Ozer set up four kingdoms in the valley that represented the four main tribes. Two were ruled by his human children, one by a dwarven child and the last was ruled by his elven child. These scions were set to rule their own kingdoms, and together these four pharaohs formed the first pharaonic council, The Four Dimensions.
Ozer ruled alone as the first pharaoh for just over 400 years! After that time he disappeared, and the duty of ruling his empire was left to his children.
The pharaohs of the new kingdoms ruled prosperously from one generation to the next, in what became a 400 year golden age. After that time, the pharaoh Minkah II, of the second upper kingdom, Zherthor, tried to become the supreme ruler of the entire realm. Minkah’s push for supremacy ignited a civil war that tore the realm apart for 75 years. Not only did the pharaoh Minkah II lose his war for supreme dominance, but his entire kingdom was eradicated! Zherthor’s river dried up and the people of this kingdom were either killed off or eternally cursed.
With the fourth kingdom now lost to the realm, the remaining pharaohs established a new council to communicate improved vigilance. Thus the council, The Triptych Eye was established.
The council of The Triptych Eye and the three remaining kingdoms of Ra-Theris prospered once again through another golden age that lasted another 400 years. After that time, a brood of powerful dragons came forth from the Obi jungles far to the south. The dragons wreaked havoc upon the entire realm. In the end, the most powerful of these dragons was killed by a great hero, and the remaining two were driven off. However, the blow dealt to the realm by these dragons was harsh, and for the past 50 years the realm has been in turmoil. New problems have arisen while the damage done by the dragons has been in repair, and pharaonic rule is in a state of decline as the people of the realm despair.
The Realm Today
The year is 1335, by the Ra-Theris calendar. The realm has seen it’s ups and downs, and the realm faces a tempestuous time ahead. As the kingdom tries to restore devastation done by powerful dragons, other strange and troublesome things have began to occur. The massive mountain gates that lead to the inner havens of the upper kingdom, Duldrom, have been shut by the dwarven pharaoh Ergemenes. Those sent to Duldrom to communicate have not returned, and no one knows what’s going on inside. Furthermore, some of the grand burial tombs of the former pharaohs are being taken over by nefarious fiends that are controlling the power in these tombs… by why? To make matters even worse, rumors are heard that the Themba tribes are gathering to the south, and that others from the Dead Kingdom have been lurking in the deserts to the east. And of course, no one can forget that not all of the dragons that attacked the realm were killed and may come back seeking vengeance one day!
The desert valley is a formidable place, but it is times like these when heroes are forged! There is power, riches, rewards and glory to be had, for those with a savage volition and a true desire to triumph.